Red Warty Thing Squash (Victor)
Inventory, lb : 0
This item was last sold on : 11/23/16
Red Warty Thing squash grows on long trailing vines that can reach up to 4 meters long. The fruit begins to grow once the plant’s yellow flowers begin to wither. The appearance of the Red Warty Thing squash lives up to its name. The large squash has a bright orange-red skin that is covered in tiny bumps or warts. The overall shape of the Red Warty Thing squash is globe-like and oblong. Mature squash can reach up to 20 pounds and the rind becomes very thick. The flesh is said to be the sweetest once the rind has become a rich, burnt orange-red color. The fine-grained flesh is a dark orange and has a stringless texture. The tasty flesh has a good flavor ideal for roasting and dessert making.
Red Warty Thing squash is available in the late fall and through the winter months.
The Red Warty Thing squash is known botanically as Cucurbita maxima, a winter squash variety. This heirloom squash can be dated back to 1897 when it was introduced under the name “Victor.” Though the only mention of the name ‘Victor’ is in references to it as a former name of the Red Warty Thing squash. The red hubbard-type squash is thought to be a cross between an ordinary pumpkin and a red hubbard squash.
The Red Warty Thing squash can be used for desserts, just like many other winter squash (or pumpkin) varieties. Use care when cutting into the Red Warty Thing squash, the rind is very hard. Once the squash is halved, roast it flesh side down until soft. Puree the flesh for desserts, like tarts or pies, or cut the flesh into pieces and stir into pastas or risotto. Because of its thick rind, the Red Warty Thing squash stores very well and can be kept in long-term storage for up to 5 months.
The man who introduced the Red Warty Thing squash wasn’t just the ‘Seed King’ of Marblehead, Massachusetts, he was also a philanthropist. James John Howard Gregory was a farmer and seedman, after his father, but began his career with a short stint as an educator and dean of students. As a farmer, he paid his employees on the honor system and introduced several still-relevant vegetables, including the blue hubbard squash and the first cherry tomato. Not able to have children, he and his first wife adopted four children. He was a devoted reader, and donated funding for the local Marblehead library. He helped found the Marblehead traveling library that brought library training and services to the south, visiting black schools and organizations, eventually donating over 30,000 books to southern black colleges.
The Red Warty Thing squash was introduced in the late 1800s by James J.H. Gregory of Marblehead, Massachusetts. Gregory was the unlikely owner of a seed company that got its start with the introduction of the hubbard squash and then later, the burbank potato. A red-skinned hubbard variety likely came to the east coast of the United States from France sometime in the 1800s, but may have since been lost to hybridization. After the introduction of the Red Warty Thing squash, there is very little mention of it in seed catalogs so it likely didn’t gain as much popularity as the green or blue hubbard varieties. Seeds for the Red Warty Thing squash were given to a seed bank and were released as recently as 2009.